Eocene and Miocene extension, meteoric fluid infiltration, and core complex formation in the Great Basin (Raft River Mountains, Utah)
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Metamorphic core complexes (MCCs) in the North American Cordillera reflect the effects of lithospheric extension and contribute to crustal adjustments both during and after a protracted subduction history along the Pacific plate margin. While the Miocene-to-recent history of most MCCs in the Great Basin, including the Raft River-Albion-Grouse Creek MCC, is well documented, early Cenozoic tectonic fabrics are commonly severely overprinted. We present stable isotope, geochronological (40Ar/39Ar), and microstructural data from the Raft River detachment shear zone. Hydrogen isotope ratios of syntectonic white mica (δ2Hms) from mylonitic quartzite within the shear zone are very low (-90‰ to -154‰, Vienna SMOW) and result from multiphase synkinematic interaction with surface-derived fluids. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology reveals Eocene (re)crystallization of white mica with δ2Hms ≥ -154‰ in quartzite mylonite of the western segment of the detachment system. These δ2Hms values are distinctively lower than in localities farther east (δ2Hms ≥ -125‰), where 40Ar/39Ar geochronological data indicate Miocene (18-15 Ma) extensional shearing and mylonitic fabric formation. These data indicate that very low δ2H surface-derived fluids penetrated the brittle-ductile transition as early as the mid-Eocene during a first phase of exhumation along a detachment rooted to the east. In the eastern part of the core complex, prominent top-to-the-east ductile shearing, mid-Miocene 40Ar/39Ar ages, and higher δ2H values of recrystallized white mica, indicate Miocene structural and isotopic overprinting of Eocene fabrics.
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